Summer Work & Reading 2018

Upper School Reading Assignment

Dear WMA Community,

In 1928, Mrs. Rufus P. Cushman presented to Wilbraham & Monson Academy a bronze tablet “to honor right living achieved and to keep high purpose glowing in the soul of youth.” This was to honor Frank Chapin Cushman, whose motto was “LIVE CLEAN, SPEAK TRUE, WORK HARD, PLAY FAIR.” These ideals have embodied one of WMA’s top graduation awards, the Frank Chapin Cushman Memorial Award, given to one of our top students annually.

Since these four values are so essential to our community, we will use them as a framework for community living and programming, such as summer reading, all-school speakers and presentations.

“Live Clean” is the theme for the 2018-2019 academic year, and the summer reading program will help jumpstart our discussion as to what this means. Students are required to select one book (or more!) from the grade-level list provided below and read this book during the summer. We also encourage all parents and families to read with your student this summer. We hope this reading experience sparks conversation and helps us think about what it means to live clean personally and as a community.

Grades 11 & 12
  • "The Handmaid's Tale" by Margaret Atwood
  • "The House of Sand and Fog" by Andre Dubus III
  • "The Common Good" by Robert Reich
  • "Eleven Seconds: A Story of Tragedy, Courage & Triumph" by Travis Roy and E.M. Swift (Note: Travis Roy is scheduled to make an appearance at WMA on Oct. 24, 2018).

Grades 9 & 10
  • "Milk & Honey" by Rupi Kaur
  • "Brown Girl Dreaming" by Jacquline Woodson
  • "Can Your Smartphone Change the World" by Erinne Paisley
  • "Through My Eyes" by Tim Tebow
  • "Eleven Seconds: A Story of Tragedy, Courage & Triumph" by Travis Roy and E.M. Swift (Note: Travis Roy is scheduled to make an appearance at WMA on Oct. 24, 2018).

We will have thematic discussions when we return in the fall, both during advisor meetings and sit-down lunches. And this year, we’ve started a student summer reading committee to help us create programming that is meaningful and student-centered.

So as you go off to enjoy your summer holidays, think about how you define and articulate the ideals of living clean, and bring back your ideas and thoughts to school in August.

Happy reading!



English Summer Reading



Students in Grades 9 through postgraduate must read additional texts selected by the English Department for the English course in which students are enrolled next fall. Testing/class discussion on this book will take place within the English course.

Please note, students must annotate texts for English reading.


Other Summer Work



Middle School


All Middle School students will read two books this summer. We will publish a list of additional texts in the coming weeks, but that will be posted separately.

Grade 6

  • “Primates: The Fearless Science of Jane Goodall, Dian Fossey, and Birute Galdikas” by Jim Ottaviani and Maris Wicks. A depiction of three primatologists and their individual journeys as scientists, written in a graphic novel style.
  • “Chasing Redbird” by Sharon Creech

Grade 7

  • “Primates: The Fearless Science of Jane Goodall, Dian Fossey, and Birute Galdikas” by Jim Ottaviani and Maris Wicks. A depiction of three primatologists and their individual journeys as scientists, written in a graphic novel style.
  • "I Will Always Write Back" by Alifirenka and Ganda

Grade 8

  • “The Boy Who Harnessed The Wind” by William Kamkwamba and Bryan Mealer
    A young boy in modern Malawi survives famine and political unrest, and uncovers a love of science along the way. This is a harrowing read but very accessible - but is available in a Young Readers Edition as well, which avoids the most difficult scenes of famine.
  • “We Were Liars” by E. Lockheart